I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems to me that recommendations about how to keep Caroline safe and healthy and alive is constantly changing. I used to get headaches sometimes by all of the contradicting advice I would get after Caroline was born. It felt like I had to do research before I responded to people…
“I know Aunt Amy that when I was a baby you were supposed to put us to sleep on our tummies, but now it is only their backs… I don’t know what will happen if she spits up in the middle of the night.”
“Yes Charlotte, it was okay five years ago to have bumpers in Tommy’s crib, but now under no circumstances should there be bumpers, blankets, stuffed animals, ANYTHING that could suffocate Caroline.”
“Calm down grandpa, it will not kill Caroline to eat eggs and peanut butter at 7 months. No, I promise the doctor said to introduce them now, just no honey. No honey, at all.”
I could go on… breast milk is best for as long as possible, keep her facing backwards in a car seat for as long as possible, and on, and on, and on.
Caroline just turned one and has four teeth. We have had one of the those plastic finger brushes (Timberlane Dental gave it to me at a BVTMB event, if they hadn’t I wouldn’t have known to use it) that we have been trying to use at least once a day. I knew that we should probably think about picking a dentist and scheduling her an appointment.
I found myself in Babies R Us last week and was looking at tooth brushes and and tooth paste. If my inner bargain hunter hadn’t been present, I would have bought a cute little tooth brush and one of the many tooth pastes that was clearly marked fluoride free for 0-2 years old. Thank goodness I didn’t, it would have been a a waste of $5 (the bargain hunter in me is jumping for joy).
Caroline turned one on February 26th. On the 27th we had her one year doctor’s appointment. I dutifully brought Caroline to her pediatrician, mainly to find out her height and weight and to be told that she was perfect. On one of the three papers I filled out for them I checked I wanted to talk about dental care… I mean we had to talk about something, right?
Feeling confident, I said to the pediatrician, “I know I should schedule an appointment with a dentist, I’m just wondering how many times a day I should brush her teeth with a tooth brush and tooth paste.” Her pediatrician responded, “Twice a day. Oh, and make sure it is fluoride toothpaste.” Me shocked, “You mean fluoride free toothpaste right? In the stores they are clearly marked.” He laughed, “It changed last month. Seriously, they just changed it, you are supposed to use fluoride toothpaste now.” Whaaaaat?
I’m not saying I didn’t believe this man with a PhD, but let’s just say I felt the need to do some research.
And so I did. He was right (surprise?). The American Dental Association changed their decades-old recommendation that a pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste should not be used until a child is 2 years old. Now (cough, a month ago) it is recommended that parents should use a smear of fluoride toothpaste twice a day as soon as their children cut teeth. Once the child is between the ages of 2 to 5 years old the amount should be increased to a pea size amount. The change is due to research finding that fluoride early on is a strong preventive measure to fight tooth decay in children 6 years and younger.